When big reds show up on the surface from North Carolina to Virginia, they’re on the hunt and easy to catch. Finding them is the hard part.
Spring: Eastern Shore Virginia
From mid-April to the end of May, anchor along the shallow shoals at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore barrier islands. Use a heavy-action boat rod rigged with a fish-finder rig baited with a whole blue crab, or a chunk of cut menhaden or mullet.
Summer: Virginia Beach
From late May through early fall, slowly cruise around the lower Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore islands and Virginia Beach oceanfront, looking for huge schools of big red drum swimming slowly on the surface. Cast a 2-ounce bucktail or an 8-inch swimbait with a heavy-action casting rod.
Fall: Outer Banks
Red drum season culminates with their mass migration along the Outer Banks. From early September through November, anglers sight-cast to schools of red drum around Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet and the barrier islands. Anchor along the inlet shoals and fish cut bait for big drum. Or hit the beaches or fishing piers with a 12-foot heavy-action surf rod and a high-speed casting reel to launch cut bait to big drum cruising the surf line.